PR: The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Returns

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Returns to the Infamously Haunted Ship September 27 
Tickets to the 23 terrifying nights on-sale NOW
 
Dark Harbor’s newest frights to be unveiled July 29
The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, Southern California’s most terrifyingly authentic haunt, will once again rise from the deep, dripping with history of the infamously haunted ship September 27 – November 2, 2018. Tickets to Dark Harbor are available for purchase now at QueenMary.com.

Gruesome and bloodcurdling spirits will descend upon the legendary Queen Mary in Long Beach for the most anticipated, terrifying twenty-three nights of the year. Dark Harbor’s resident spirits: Ringmaster, Captain, Samuel the Savage, Graceful Gale, Half-Hatch Henry, Iron Master, Scary Mary, Voodoo Priestess, and Chef, will raise hundreds of tortured souls and spirits to haunt the grounds of Dark Harbor nightly for an unforgettable, bone-chillingly immersive experience.

The creators and producers behind Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor will reveal the newest frightful features for the upcoming season at Midsummer Scream haunt con on July 29 at the Long Beach Convention Center. Celebrate Halloween in July with Dark Harbor’s panel and get a sneak-peak of some of the terrifying new tricks that are being conjured up for the 2018 season of Dark Harbor.

Named one of the top 10 most haunted places on Earth by Time Magazine, The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor offers the most authentically frightening experience available. Bringing the true haunted tales of The Queen Mary to life, the annual event begins September 27 and continues to scare those who dare through November 2, 2018. Tickets to the 2018 Dark Harbor season are available now. General admission ticket prices start at just $20 online, with Fast Fright, Evil Express, VIP, Ultimate Scream, and lodging packages available. For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit www.queenmary.com/dark-harbor.

Advertisements

EXCLUSIVE! The Haunting of the Queen Mary

HorrorAddicts.net was invited to an exclusive party where our correspondent was given a tour of the ship and the most haunted room! He shares his experience with us below.

The Haunting of the Queen Mary

by Dario Ciriello

It’s not hard to believe the Queen Mary, once-proud flagship of the legendary Cunard line, is haunted. What’s impossible to believe is that it’s not haunted.

A fifth of a mile from bow to stern, held together by over ten million rivets, this eighty-three-year-old vessel slaps you with its living soul before you even set foot on its wide decks.

Once aboard, the first thing you notice is a subtle sense of imbalance; she sags slightly in the middle, and the closer you get to the bow or stern, the more pronounced the effect. The art deco elegance — acres of polished birdseye maple paneling, brass fittings, and long, empty passageways flanking the cabins and staterooms — belongs to the past, not the present. The sense of history is palpable.

And of course this grand old lady has seen its share of tragedy.

In 1942, during its wartime incarnation as a troop ship, the Queen Mary collided with the British cruiser Curacoa, slicing it in two “like a piece of butter, straight through its six-inch armor plating,” according to one eyewitness. The cruiser’s boiler rooms exploded and 339 sailors died. It’s rumored that some of the bodies were later found inside the damaged bows of the Queen Mary. An unknown numbers of prisoners of war, along with allied wounded, are thought to have died on board, many from heatstroke during its passage through the Red Sea.

In 1966, just a year before the ship was retired, John Pedder, an eighteen-year-old engineer, was crushed to death in one of the ship’s watertight doors — watertight door number thirteen. Since then he’s been seen many times, usually with a wrench in his hand.

And of course some deaths go unrecorded. Perhaps this explains the many sightings of a woman often seen in the first-class swimming pool, where it’s possible she drowned. Also reported there are occasional wet footprints that end abruptly. This in a swimming pool that was drained twenty-six years ago.

Resident paranormal investigator Matthew Schultz led my group down a narrow steel gangway suspended in the eerie, unlit cavern of the ship’s boiler rooms to the so-called “safe room”1 where he conducts part of his research. Matthew explained that since spirits are thought to communicate via energy, many of the instruments used in his research — a number of them were arrayed on a table before us — measure energy spikes and anomalies. Time after time, Matthew and his tour guests have experienced touches, tugs on clothing, and disembodied voices.

During his investigations, Matthew has recorded numerous instances of ghostly voices and, in one dramatic encounter, the so-called “singing nurse”. He played a number of these recordings for us. Although the noise of the ship’s ventilation systems rises to a roar on recordings turned up to high volume and, annoyingly, spirits seem to prefer to whisper rather than speak clearly, I could hear something on each example he played. I couldn’t swear they were voices, but they did make my neck hair prickle.

The next part of our tour was led by the distinguished and soft-spoken Commodore Everette Hoard. The Commodore2, who has loved the vessel and been part of its history for almost four decades, took us to cabin B340, the most haunted place on the ship. For years, passengers would awaken to find ghostly figures at their bedside; staff would make up the beds only to find them in complete disarray moments later.

Many visitors, including the Commodore himself, experience vertigo when they step into B340. The cabin became so notorious for its paranormal phenomena that it was left unoccupied for years. “I wouldn’t spend a night in here,” the Commodore assured us.3

Our final tour guide, Daniel, showed us to the ship’s pool (unfortunately we couldn’t go inside) where the ghostly wet footprints appear. He regaled us with the story of the eight-year-old ghost known affectionately as “Jackie”, who is often seen with arms upraised, as if asking to be picked up and held. The nearby stairway, steepest on the ship, is said to have proved fatal to a number of passengers who lost their footing and tumbled down it during rough weather.

As a grand finale, Daniel led us along a blood-spattered kitchen hallway lined with grisly relics including animal and human heads and limbs, hopefully all fake, to the very apex of the ship’s bow, whose converging steel plates so murderously ended the lives of most of the Curacoa’s crew.

Is it all true? Is this majestic liner the hotbed of paranormal activity so many claim it to be?

I’m certain at least some of the phenomena are real. Although I didn’t directly experience anything worse than a sense of imbalance and the occasional eldritch shiver, the history of the vessel and the sincerity of people like Commodore Hoard alone are enough to convince me.

And if any of you spend a night in cabin B340, drop me a line and let me know how you slept.


1 Called the “safe room” because none of its walls contacts any part of the ship, thus isolating it in case of emergencies

2 The title is an honorary one bestowed after long service

3 Readers will be delighted to know that B340 has been entirely refurnished and is now available to overnight guests: bring $599 and nerves of steel.


Dario Ciriello is a professional author and editor, and the founder (2009) of Panverse Publishing.

Dario’s first novel, “Sutherland’s Rules”, a crime caper/thriller with a shimmer of the fantastic, was published in 2013. “Free Verse and Other Stories”, a collection of his short Science Fiction work, was released in June 2014. 

His 2015 novel, the supernatural suspense thriller titled “Black Easter”, pits love against black magic and demonic possession on a remote, idyllic Greek island. Dario is currently at work on a new thriller.

Dario’s nonfiction book, “Aegean Dream”, the bittersweet memoir of a year spent on the small Greek island of Skópelos (the real “Mamma Mia!” island), was an Amazon category #1 for several months in 2012. “Drown the Cat: the Rebel Author’s Guide to Writing Beyond the Rules” (2017) is his second nonfiction work.

In addition to writing, Dario, who currently lives in the Los Angeles area, offers professional editing, copyediting, and coaching services to indie authors. You can find these on his blog menu at www.dariospeaks.wordpress.com 

Vile Vacations: The Haunted Queen Mary Experience

qm18Visiting the retired, permanently moored RMS Queen Mary is an experience in itself. You don’t have to experience ghost activity to feel the history on board. They offer awesome tour packs where you can see the engine rooms, one of the exposed propellers, and the rumored haunted “Vortex” near the dilapidated—but beautiful—pool. I’ve been fortunate to visit several times and even stay overnight a few years ago. I will give you a tour and then explain my experience. You can decide if the place is really haunted or not.

qm10The ship in general is a fantastic place to visit with so much history to explore. For Titanic enthusiasts, it’s a must-visit. As part of the White Star Line, this so closely resembles Titanic, that you will find yourself doing double-takes as you pass the promenade deck, the dining room, and even the inner room halls. Not only does it resemble the famous iceberg-disabled ship, many movies, and TV shows have been filmed on the Queen Mary so you might find the place familiar as you step on board, which adds to the mystique. The Queen Mary has graced the sets of movies like Titanic II, Pearl Harbor, Aviator, The Natural, The 13th Floor, and television series such as The Search for the Next Elvira, Moonlight, Murder She Wrote, Unsolved Mysteries, and Quantum Leap. They also have historical exhibits that run for a short time. If you are into the royals and fashion, you might enjoy the pricey but beautiful exhibit on now, “Diana: Legacy of a Princess” where you can see many of her iconic dresses in person. They also have other royal history and some of the clothes from the current monarch. For military buffs, the QM played a big part in the WWII effort as a transport ship for Australian and New Zealand soldiers. Per Wikipedia,

In the WWII conversion, the ship’s hull, superstructure and funnels were painted navy grey. As a result of her new color, and in combination with her great speed, she became known as the “Grey Ghost.”

As far as hauntings on the ship, there have been many reported. No wonder, since at least 49 crew and passengers are known to have died during the Queen Mary‘s service as a luxury liner.

qm16In the engine room, our tour guide told us of one such haunting. Although somewhat “set-up” by and ominous number 13, the guide recalled a sailor was crushed by this water-tight door. They aren’t clear on the “why”, but it’s attributed to him either playing chicken or going back to grab something in an emergency. The ship’s underground system of working tunnels is certainly creepy, but as for ghosts? Who knows?

qm19Another creepy location on the ship is the ominous 1st Class Pool. Those horror buffs out there will swear it was the pool in the movie Ghostship, but it’s not.
Still, the effect of the once-beautiful place being in complete disrepair sent a chill up my spine. Pardon the dim pictures because of lack of light and the fact that we could not explore the place fully because most of the pool was closed due to safety regulations. The most haunted place in the pool area is purported to be what they call the “Vortex” located in the pool showers.qm11I took a picture standing right in the middle of the “Vortex” although warned by the tour guide, “It may not come out, or your phone might die.” He said reports of this happening are frequent and that several people have found light spots or “ghost” images in their photos. I played along, and it was fun to imagine, but as you can see, that did not happen. My picture is clear of “ghosties” and I didn’t feel anything but the same creepiness you feel when entering any derelict structure.

So, if I didn’t feel anything in the most haunted part of the ship, what did I feel? I had two experiences that will stay with me forever.

qm14First, when we were walking through the bowels of the ship, I kept feeling like someone was behind me. I was the last one in the tour at that time. I kept looking behind me and would catch just a shadow or a blur. Not really anything tangible, but enough to creep you out. This was before the tour guide told us about the crewman of hatch 13 that was crushed there. It creeped me out, but only because I kept feeling the presence the entire time we were in the down below.

qm17 qm20 qm202

When we went into this particularly dark part of the ship, standing at the doorway into the place, I became nauseous. The boat is moored, so there is no movement to make me sick. I stepped into the huge room and felt like someone had given me a push into the room. Again, I was the last one in and no one was behind me. My nausea grew and I wasn’t able to even step forward to where the rest of the tour was. My husband asked if I was okay and I nodded, motioning him on so he look at the mechanics of the ship. As my stomachache grew, my attention was drawn to a door up high looking over us. The door was open, and light shone through from an unseen bulb, but it wasn’t anywhere anyone would be. However, in my periphery, I saw someone standing there. I looked up and nothing was there. It kind of creeped me out, but after the “sighting”(?) I felt fine again and was able to enjoy the rest of the tour without incident. In the pictures (Again I apologize for poor light shots.) the large shot is the massive room we entered. There are light spots, but I doubt they were ghost proof because it was so dusty in the room. In the second shot, you can see the room where I felt the presence standing. Doesn’t appear that I caught anything on film. However, a few people who have seen the shot wonder if I did catch a ghost. The head is higher than a normal human would stand. Is the partial shot of a mustached man a spirit? Or is it just a pipe and a trick of sight? I still don’t know what I believe about the picture, but I do know a male presence was following me during this part of the tour. Was a ghost or spirit following me through the crew hatches to cause menace? Or was he guiding me to make sure I stayed safe? Or was it merely making its self known to mark its territory?

 

qm3qm5My second experience happened in our suite. We stayed in the Eisenhower Suite. If anyone knows me, they know I am so not a history—especially political—buff. If I know history, it’s usually fashion or something I’ve had to research for a book. I knew nothing about Eisenhower nor did I have an impression of the president before I stayed there. The suite was beautiful. It felt luxurious to have not only a quite sizable bedroom (for a ship) and bathroom, but also another servants quarters where I could lay out my stuff and put on my makeup. qm21Probably the posh-est place I’ve stayed, not counting the inconvenience of the bathroom on a ship. (We kept stubbing our toes on the raised bathroom entry and in the shower, the tub was so circular, you had to stand with one foot in front of the other like walking tight rope while washing.) Laying down in the fresh clean sheets with my husband next to me, I thought there couldn’t be any place more comfortable.

Unfortunately, the night of sleep was not as good as we planned. Beyond the sounds of the ship (Pipes creaking and pounding, the movement of others, and various sounds we were unused to.) I found my sleep state to hover on the “almost awake” state. qm6During this night, I kept hearing the tinkling of a dog’s tags and the light pressure of a small dog hoping on the bed. It was so real to me, I woke and looked down at the foot of the bed several times, sure it had actually happened. I haven’t had a dog since I was a child and I haven’t felt that dog jumping on the bed thing since then, but it was unmistakable. The next morning, I related the story to my husband and he agreed, he had been kept in REM sleep for what seemed like all night. Although he had the same trouble sleeping, he did not feel or hear the dog. After telling a few people of my experience—and not connecting it at all with Eisenhower and his dogs—my friends started a discussion about his dogs and which one might have been alive when he traveled on the Queen Mary in 1946. The connection is interesting.

fala2

Eisenhower and his Terrier “Fala”.

I don’t know if Eisenhower even boarded with a dog on his voyage, but it certainly makes sense. All I know is that it was a small-type dog like a Terrier. But what did I really experience? Was it the ghost or imprint of one of the President’s dogs? Or was it someone else’s dog that perished onboard? Or perhaps for the skeptic, it’s more believable that I had a kernel of a memory from years ago about Eisenhower having a dog that I didn’t remember…and my brain caused me to “dream” of this fact in my unconscious state?

Whether you visit the Queen Mary to experience it’s greatness or to attend the annual “Dark Harbor” Halloween event, this is a haunted locale you can’t miss. I would advise to come for the tours, but not to stay overnight, unless you don’t mind little sleep.

Have you been to a haunted locale? Tell us about it. Email: horroraddicts@gmail.com